04/22/2011 5:21PM

Letters to the Editor April 24


One bettor finds that medication has its place

In regard to the April 13 article "Jockey Club favors drug action," regarding the elimination of raceday medication, and the April 20 "HBPA calls for debate on medication ban," recounting some horsemen's stance on the issue, I remember New York Racing Association competition before medication was allowed. Races were very unpredictable. A horse repeating a great performance was not the norm. Consistency did not exist.

I believe it is just this simple: If you bet seriously on Thoroughbred racing, you better make your money now before they shut off the medication. Indeed, it is obvious that phenylbutazone, aka Bute, and Lasix help horses run better and make them more consistent.

The chemistry of it I don't claim to know. But maybe if a horse runs better on a substance, that's because the horse is feeling better. Perhaps when the horse runs poorly without it, that does damage to the horse.

Ray Davis - Nicholasville, Ky.

Sport tarnished in Golden State

The April 21 article "New meet offers new opportunities" about Hollywood Park's opening should more reasonably have referred to the poor opportunities presented by California racing: synthetic tracks and the legislature-approved increase in takeout on exotic wagers.

The fact of the matter is that the only thing more unappetizing to a serious horseplayer than synthetic racing is synthetic racing where the horses are coming from dirt feeder tracks.

And in respect to the higher takeout, while those in Southern California may rationalize that the revised takeouts are competitive with other tracks nationwide, the reality of racing in 2011 is that if all racetrack owners and authorities in racing jurisdictions don't soon realize that the industry needs to contract and run fewer races on a daily basis and with lower taxation on its patrons, the industry will continue to creep further into irrelevance and closer to oblivion.

Dave Cullather - Schuylkill Haven, Pa.